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A Long Weekend in Burgundy France – Part 1

Ever dream of heading to one of the great wine regions of France? I have. Even though I was lucky enough to live in France, I never quite made it to the Burgundy region… until now! I traveled there with my good friend Vinocity Vicki, who got us into to some fantastic places to sample incredible wines, which you can read about soon on her website Vinocity. For now, here’s Part 1 of my posts - where we went. And don’t forget to come back next week for Part 2 - what we did, and where we ate! Enjoy!

Getting there

After a late arrival into Paris and some car rental “confusion”* we got into our car and started out for our ultimate destination of the city of Beaune.

*The rental car company at Paris Orly airport canceled our reservation and said we didn’t show up in time. And by the way, they had no more cars available to rent… uhm, our flight was delayed, and the reason why the company canceled our reservation sounded slightly suspicious, like maybe THEY messed up and tried to blame us. Ultimately, we went to another car rental company and rented a really cool car! So there!

Where’d we stay?

We rented a fantastic gite, which is a small furnished vacation home in France, called the Maison Belin, in the heart of the city of Beaune. We found it on Trip Advisor and we loved it! Check it my pics!

So, uh, where exactly is all that?

The Burgundy region (yup, it’s a region, not a city) is located in the east-central part of France, and the Burgundian city of Beaune is about 3 hours (+/- ) southeast of Paris by car, right smack in the middle of Burgundy, aka, Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region. Not to get too wonky, but it's in the department of Cote-d’Or. Okay, okay, so Beaune is also about 40 minutes southwest of the city of Dijon by car. And Dijon, as you can probably guess, is all about the mustard!**

** Dijon mustard originated in 1856, when Jean Naigeon (of Dijon) substituted verjus, the acidic "green" juice of not-quite-ripe grapes, for vinegar in the traditional mustard recipe.

Why did we choose Beaune?

Beaune was centrally located to the wineries we’d be visiting. Bonus that it was totally adorable! Just look!

Traveleidoscope: Mural in honor of the 1966 film La Grande Vadrouille, which was partly filmed in Beaune

The wineries

The wineries we visited were very intimate, with the actual winemakers graciously welcoming us! For the most part, the tours/tastings were in French, which was just fine with me. Here are the places we visited, but like I mentioned, Vinocity Vicki will talk about the wines in detail, so make sure to check out her upcoming post!

  • Domaine de Robert (in the village of Fleurie, in Beaujolais)

  • Domaine Pierre Amiot & Fils (in the village of Morey-Saint Denis, in the Cote de Nuits area of Burgundy)

  • Domaine Philippe Rossignol (in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, in the Cote de Nuits area of Burgundy)

  • Domaine Cornu-Camus (in the village of Echevronne in the Cote de Beaune area of Burgundy)

Traveleioscope:  Wine Bottles, Burgundy

Quick wine reference

Burgundy runs from the city of Auxerre in the north, to the city of Mâcon in the south (or to the city of Lyon, depending on if the Beaujolais area is included as part of Burgundy). It has five primary wine growing areas - Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais. There is also Châtillonnais, which is known for Cremant de Bourgogne, which is a regionally designated sparking burgundy wine.

What about the people?

I frequently hear people say, “I hear the French hate Americans.” In my experience, that’s not true. I’ve lived in the city of Paris and in the region of Normandy, and the French are always wonderful to me, but I found the Burgundians to be particularly open and friendly. Although it's important to clarify - the French are just more reserved and more formal than Americans. For example, you may know someone for many years and still address that person as Mr. or Mrs.; however, in the U.S., it’s not uncommon to be on a first name basis with a person immediately. Also, Americans tend to smile a lot, whereas the French are not as “smiley”. That’s not good or bad, it just is.

While I speak French, you don’t have to know a lot of French to go to France. Just learn a few words, like please and thank you. When you walk into a shop, it’s customary to say, “bon jour”, before you do any business. And remember, talking louder does not bridge the communication gap. Knowing these simple “rules” will get you pretty far in France.

What’s up next?

My next post will talk all about what we did and where we ate! So make sure to come back for more!

Have you been to Burgundy? I’d love to hear all about it on Facebook or in Traveleidoscope’s comment section!

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